The RMCS team consisted of six fifth-graders, pictured standing left to right: Grace Bendoski, Tess LaLonde, Sarah Brown, Sydney Klugo, and Anna Hill. Front row, team member Nisha Shah and coach Anne LaLonde. Photo by Shawn Hill.

On Top of The World Rick Marcotte Central School Shines at Odyssey of the Mind World Finals

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Thursday June 06, 2013

After winning first place in their problem and division at the Odyssey of the Mind Vermont state competition, the Rick Marcotte Central School team traveled to East Lansing, Michigan to compete in the World Finals, held from May 22nd to May 25th.  

The World Finals event brings together some of the best young problem solvers in the world. Many teams compete at several tournament levels in their state or country before being advanced to the World Finals competition. The RMCS team was one of 86 teams participating in the Vermont Odyssey of the Mind State Tournament, March 23rd, at Champlain Valley Union High School.  

Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. Teams of 5-7 students are challenged to solve a long-term problem and a spontaneous problem in fun, cooperative, creative ways without outside assistance. The long-term problem is solved thru team meetings, once or twice a week during the school year. The solution is presented as an original skit or performance created by the team. The spontaneous part of the competition consists of a problem given to the team “on the spot” to solve within a 5-10 minute time frame. The teams must effectively present their ideas before panels of judges.

In the spontaneous competition, the RMCS team placed 2nd out of 65 teams, with a score of 99.63 out of a possible 100. This was quite an accomplishment, considering that the RMCS team was one of 825 teams from 33 US states and 13 countries competing at the World Finals. They placed 20th in the world in the overall competition in their problem and division.

The RMCS team of fifth-graders Grace Bendoski, Sydney Klugo, Tess LaLonde, Sarah Brown, Anna Hill and Nisha Shah was coached by Anne LaLonde of South Burlington.  The long-term problem solution they created included three works of art stolen from the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana in Venice , a contentious quest with bad cell phone connection to find the art, and an insistent purple bunny.  “The coolest things about the World Finals were the pin trading, the spontaneous problem, and no school for four days.” reflected Grace Bendowski. 
Vermont Odyssey of the Mind is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization. More information can be found at